In the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, at the intersection of State Street and Whitehall Street, is Peter Minuit Plaza in New York. The urban plaza serves the South Ferry intermodal transportation hub.
On September 9, 2009, the 5,000-square-foot pavilion’s $2.4 million construction began, and on May 12, 2011, it was formally opened to the public. The Pavilion was designed by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos of UNStudio, with the architect of record being Handel Architects of New York.
Reported on March 2013
New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion, New York
Ben van Berkel / UNStudio’s new Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion opens to the public at Peter Minuit Plaza at the Battery in New York, bringing a new architectural landmark to lower Manhattan.
On May 12th, 2011, the official opening of the Peter Minuit Plaza and the dedication of the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion took place in Battery Park, New York
The ceremony was held at 10:30 AM (EST) in Peter Minuit Plaza and was attended by American and Dutch dignitaries, civic and business leaders, and key representatives of New York City’s cultural and arts community.
Commissioned by The Battery Conservancy and developed in collaboration with the Parks Department and Department of Transportation, the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion were made possible by a generous US$2.3 million gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to New York City, in honor of four centuries of friendship and a mutual passion for the values of innovation and creativity, diversity and openness, entrepreneurship, and progress.
The site will be New York City’s first truly 21st-century intermodal transportation hub – where bicycles, buses, the subway, and water transportation intersect with cultural offerings in a singular expression of daring but lyrical design – and will convert an intersection traveled by more than 150,000 residents and visitors daily into Lower Manhattan’s newest and most dynamic destination for cultural activity, entertainment, and enjoyment.
The Plein & Pavilion project was conceived by the Battery Conservancy to create an extraordinary ‘outdoor living room’ for spontaneous and scheduled activities, public markets, seating and shade, and a gleaming white, state-of-the-art pavilion for visitor information and delicious locally grown gourmet food. Designed by UNStudio in collaboration with Handel Architects LLP, New York serving as associate architect.
The project’s landscape was conceived by Parks Dept. Landscape Designer Gail Wittwer-Laird. Where History Meets the Future UNStudio’s design for New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion creates a 5,000 square-foot, carefully programmed space located within Peter Minuit Plaza, housing regional organic food by Merchants Market, as well as the Alliance for Downtown New York’s Visitor Information Booth.
This highly sculptural pavilion stands as a gateway to the Battery’s park and waterfront, with an expressive, undulating roofline and curving walls; a compact little building with the authority of a major landmark, evoking a flower opening to its surroundings.
Every night at 12:00 AM midnight, the New Amsterdam Pavilion will glow with an array of colors in tribute to Peter Minuit whose name translates to ‘midnight.’ 1626 consolidated the early settlements at the tip of Manhattan: a grouping that came to be known as New Amsterdam.
This destination is, in the words of architect Ben van Berkel, “the ideal site for a permanent commemoration of 400 years of Dutch history in New York, because it is steeped in a sense of a shared past and looks directly toward the harbor where Henry Hudson sailed, but is also entirely focused on the future by virtue of its role as a modern transportation hub within the constantly changing scene of Lower Manhattan. This is a site where history meets the future.”
Warrie Price of The Battery Conservancy said, “The Netherlands is a country that sets global standards for how cities and countries can regenerate themselves through the professional strength of innovative and talented designers, and through the force and beauty of the natural world.
The Battery, where New York City was born, began its own revitalization with the work of famed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, who created with us the largest perennial gardens in North America, free and open to the public. With the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, we are delighted to continue our mission of design excellence, privileged to expand our connection to the great tradition of Dutch design, and honored to bring to New Yorkers and guests from around the world the joy of nature, the pleasure in community and the value of great modern architecture.”
About Peter Minuit Plaza
Home to the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion, the new Peter Minuit Plaza recalls the city’s earliest days as Nieuw Amsterdam while heralding the future with cutting-edge architecture, modern amenities, and 21st-century technology. This rare park/transit meeting ground defines a new era in public space design and construction.
Designed by Gail Wittwer-Laird of NYC Parks, the plaza weaves together trees, gardens, art, food, and information with ferries, subways, buses, bikes, and pedestrians. It also demonstrates the commitment of the City, State, and Federal governments, and a partnering Conservancy in creating a unique standard-setting park.
About The Battery and The Battery Conservancy
The Battery is a 25-acre waterfront park and the cradle of New York City history. Located at the tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor, The Battery hosted Dutch settlers when they arrived at Manhattan Island in 1626 and established New Amsterdam.
Today with the leadership of The Battery Conservancy, a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to partner with the government to design and rebuild these historic acres, the park is the largest and most dynamic public place in Lower Manhattan.
It is the front lawn of Downtown and a hub of harbor access and cultural tourism. Over five million people, including residents, office workers, school groups, and tourists from around the world, visit the park and its major landmark, Castle Clinton National Monument, every year.
The Battery Conservancy, with its partners at the city, state, and federal levels, has raised over US$116M to revitalize the park.
Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos with Wouter de Jonge, Christian Veddeler and Kyle Miller, Jan Schellhoff, Wesley Lanckriet, Arndt Willert
Handel Architects, New York
Gary Handel, AIA, D. Blake Middleton, FAIA, LEED AP, Stephen Matkovits, AIA, LEED AP, Mark Morris
(Lighting Design and Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection Engineering)